04/23/2011 1:14PM

Chasing the Rainbow


1:15 pm: Late scratches have reduced the universe of possible Rainbow 6 combinations from 2.4 million to 1.2 million, but may have made the sequence tougher since the scratches include the morning-line favorites in the first two legs of the bet.

A sequence that had been composed of five 12-horse fields and one of 10 now consists of three 12-horse fields, one of 11 and two of 8, a reduction of possible permutations from 2,488,320 to a mere 1,216,512. The opening leg in particular, however, may have gotten trickier with the defection of 8-5 ML favorite Game On. He was no cinch off three straight seconds as the odds-on favorite, but his Beyers in those races were all higher than anyone else in the field has approahed on dirt. There is no standout among the 11 remaining runners, who are a combined 0 for 54.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what the pool might be at the close of betting, currently scheduled to be 4:15 ET. Estimates have ranged anywhere from doubling to quadrupling the $1.4 million carryover. As discussed in today's column, the 10-cent minimum gives players 20 times their usual Pick-6 buying power -- a $96 investor usually gets 48 combinations at $2 apiece but today gets 960 10-cent combos for the same investment.

I'm still struggling with how much to put in myself. My personal limit for pick-6's is $5,000 and that's only on the Breeders' Cup; buying that same number of combinations today would cost me only $250. On the other hand, I've put $1,000 to $1,500 into carryovers a quarter the size of this one. It's impossible to gauge what a relatively chalky sequence might return. If there's $3 million to be paid out to the 6-of-6 winners and 1,000 people have it, it still pays $3,000. If 100 people have it, it pays $30k.

Stratgeically, I'll use the same ABC methodology I usually do rather than leveraging the dime unit to make one big wooden club of a caveman ticket. Here's why: In a race like the 9th (the third leg), there's a heavy favoprite in second-time starter Zero Rate Policy, but at least four plausible alternatives if he falters. Goin five-deep on one big ticket means you're running only 20 percent of your money through a horse who seems at least 50 percent to win. I'd prefer to run at least half my play through him rather than spending 80 percent of my total investment trying to beat him.

There's also a mandatory Pick-6 payout today at Aqueduct, where it's cold and rainy. That one starts about an hour before the Rainbow 6 with the 5th race at 3:07 pm. It's (finally) Closing Day at Aqueduct, after which NYRA goes dark for five days until Belmont opens April 29.

I'll be back around 3 with a cheat-sheet on the Rainbow 6 races. It's not easy but it should be fun.


3:03 pm: Here's my spreadsheet for the Rainbow 6 races, which seem to look harder the longer I look at them. With about an hour to go, I still haven't figured out my ABC's beyond the first leg, but perhaps my notes will prove helpful.



4:05 pm: Here we go. I just made 17,733 bets, which came out to $1,773.30 at a dime a combo. It's pretty much a traditional ABC kind of play, with one exception: If Zero Rate Policy wins the 9th, I can have unlimited B's in the other races. I singled him on an $840 ticket that went 6x7x1x5x5x8.

Oh, and I used every single horse in the sequence as at least a C. They were so cheap ($9 to $27 per horse) that I wanted to duck a 5A/1x kind of result.

With the horses very slowly moving towards the starting gate, they're saying there's already over $4.8 million in the pool.


4:30 pm: A fine start as Captain Crench ($10.40), third choice and longest of my three A's at 4-1, rallied from last to run down 9-5 fave Indian Fog (only a B) and 2-1 Marias Pass to win the opening leg.

Kind of assuming the first three finishers were bet equally in the Rainbow 6. Alive on 9 of my 11 tickets.


5:00 pm: Another A at 4-1 as one-time juvenile star Notonthesamepage , making his second start off a two-year layoff and his first for Jamie Ness, ran down 14-1 Knight Shot to win an N3L turf sprint for $20k claimers. Notonthesamepage, who earned a 104 Beyer in his maiden victory at Churchill Downs and a 113 winning the 2009 Spectacular Bid at Gulfstream, was off for 25 months following a 7th in Quality Road's Fountain of Youth, and was claimed from his return for $15k.

Pleasantly surprised to have gotten through the first two races with A's, but now comes my lynchpin race. Zero Rate Policy opened the 3-2 favorite but there's a lot of early support for the Lisa Lewis-trained firster Hebert Hall at 2-1.


5:10 pm: My tickets came out $54 short of what I thought they would and I just figured out how: I somehow left Christiesborntorun off the AABAAA, so nothing personal but I'm seriously rooting against him. He's currently the third choice at 7-2.


5:30 pm: Zero Rate Policy, banged late to 7-10, was a comfortable winner in 1:09.28 but firster Hebert Hall and stuck-inside Christieborntorun both ran well behind him to be second and third.

Leaves me alive on four tickets including the big one, with a total of 327 live combos:

2,6,8,9,10/1,3,8,11,12/1,5,6,9,10,11,12,13 (5x5x8, Main)

3,11,12/1,3,8,11,12/9,10,12 (3x5x3, AAACAA)

6,9/2,4,5,6,7,9,13/9,10,12 (2x7x3, AAAACA)

6,9/1,3,8,11,12/2,3,4,7 (2x5x4, AAAAAC)


6:00 pm: Performing (#9), 7-2 ML and the 9-5 fave at post time, ran another big one and continued what's turning into a chalky sequence. If I can get the 1,3,8,11 or 12 home in the upcoming 11th, I've got them all in the finale; otherwise, I'll be alive to just three of them.


6:30 pm: Yay, I think. With second choice 3-1 Hariolus getting through on the rail to win the 11th, I've got them all in the finale, but have no idea just how low the payoff might be with another chalky result. Let's go longshots!


6:40 pm: Still haven't seen any willpays, and only two of the dozen in the nightcap are more than 11-1: Poppin's Pride and Essence of Faith, who were my only two throwouts before I added them in for just $9 apiece (3x3x1x2x5x2=180 x $0.10 = $18). I still can't make either one, but I'll be rooting.


6:45 pm: Thank heavens for commenters. Reader "Dazzo" has posted the willpays below, and it looks like I won't get my money back with the three favorites including a $745 payoff with favored Diaper Dandy and $843 with second-choice Sassidy. Ick. The only ones paying over $10k are with Poppin's Pride ($33k) and Essence of Faith ($45k).


7:00 pm: Rachel's Girl (10-1) nipped Misia Luisa (6-1) and Shahadaroba (8-1) to spare me the supreme embrassment of hitting this thing and losing money. Instead, I almost got even money by turning $1,773.30 into $3,279. Woohoo.

All good fun, and if you hit it and are feeling grumpy, think of it this way: Multiply the 10-cent payoff by 20, and this was, in conventional Pick-6 terms, a $65,580 for $2 payoff -- about five times the parlay for 4-1, 4-1, 3-5, 9-5, 3-1 and 10-1.



Chet Davidson More than 1 year ago
Steve or anyone, Will the be a 50cent trifecta wager offered in the derby? I think I remember them offering one in years past is that right? thank you
TJC More than 1 year ago
Steve Just an FYI, the video for the Wood on Uncle Mo's derby contender profile is actually the 9th race on April 9th, not the 10th--the Wood TJC
Art More than 1 year ago
I love the backhanded knocks of the $36. or so ticket winners. Great when there is a chalk fest. Let 1 or 2 $40. 'B' or 'C' win and then its "I could have hit that if I had the bankroll of...". Steve, you deserve better for your dedication to this blog and to racing in general. Art
Walt P. More than 1 year ago
SC: I would not knock the $75,000 pool on Sunday's pick-six with no carryover. That is very good considering two major racing markets (New York and Kentucky) were unable to take the wager Sunday for reasons will documented (and absurd for these times). Gulfstream is going to have an interesting dilemma next year, because if the want to keep the Florida Derby on a Sunday, they will have to move it up a week to March 25 because the following two Sundays (April 1 & 8) are Palm and Easter Sunday (meaning next year the meet ends on Easter Sunday for the second year in a row). Would they do that, and in turn Churchill extends the Fair Grounds meet to conclude on March 31 (a Saturday) with the Louisiana Derby to close out the meet the way Oaklawn has for years with the Arkansas Derby? Some odd things possible next year because of calendar quriks!
ray More than 1 year ago
i hit this thing on a $36 and i was live to 5 horses in the last including the 1 who ran 2nd,and there were 4 people at the otb i was at who were live to the last race all had the1 horse ,1 guy had 3 horses no winner,and the other 3 were live to 2 horses,they spent $2.60 $14.80 $14 & $72.80 ,i have to beelive they would all have hit with $1700 to spend,by the way i played 3 other smaller tickets $10 each that whent 5 of 6,only because i decided to take a hail mary single against everybodys mortal lock (10)( zero rate policy,going with the (7 )chriestieborntorun,nodoubt a stupid move that cost me $9000,although im not complaining $3279 for this pick 6 was a gift.
ray More than 1 year ago
incredible how these pros think they did well spending $1700,i hit this thing on a $36 and i was live to 5 horses in the last including the 1 who ran 2nd,and there were 4 people at the otb i was at who were live to the last race all had the1 horse ,1 guy had 3 horses no winner,and the other 3 were live to 2 horses,they spent $2.60 $14.80 $14 & $72.80 ,i have to beelive they would all have hit with $1700 to spend,by the way i played 3 other smaller tickets $10 each that whent 5 of 6,only because i decided to take a hail mary single against everybodys mortal lock (10)( zero rate policy,going with the (7 )chriestieborntorun,nodoubt a stupid move that cost me $9000,although im not complaining $3279 for this pick 6 was a gift.
Carm More than 1 year ago
Steve, That play by play commentary was wonderful. It was laid out just as us horseplayers think, including all the if ands and buts in deciding how to bet it, and how much to bet. Please do more of this in the future; it was very entertaining and truthful.
Greg More than 1 year ago
Yes the handle on Sunday in the pick 6 was lower of course but it was not publicized at all and KY and NY tracks were closed for Easter. The results on Sunday were much longer priced and would have produced the kind of results high-rollers hoped for on Saturday. My idea is why not have a 10 cent pick 6 with a guaranteed payout every Saturday? That is a much better idea than Churchill's pick 10! With an industry searching or ideas this one is staring you right in the face.
RJ More than 1 year ago
Also...i don't understand those pooh-poohing the 5 in the last race, as if he alone looked awful in that field. Did he look bad? Absolutely. Did every horse in that race look bad? Absolutely. Tell me one horse in that field that had been "knocking on the door" in any of their races any more than the 5. The 5 was (and i'm not looking at my PP's now, just going off memory) 3 lengths off a 1:37 and change race in his last--every bit as impressive as anything anybody else in the field had done. And as for the connections: it's pretty much bottom level maiden claimers where low percentage connections stay afloat, so personally, eliminating a horse in a dime pick 6 field for "connections" doesn't make sense. I singled the 5 on one of my backup plays (which missed..i only hit the pick 6 once) and the pick 4 (which hit).
Jeff T. More than 1 year ago
I might as well include my "tough beat" lament on the mightly SC blog. I was alive on three tickets to the 1,6,9,10, 12 and couldn't get them home. The #5 horse nipped me. There were some really seriously foolish people putting "gorilla" tickets together at the OTB. I tried to explain the wisdom from the SC book Exotic Betting and they looked at me like I was a fool. They were needlessly out of it (on a plus $700.00 ticket no less) in the first leg. Refused to acknowledge the #6 horse who was 2/1 on the first tick as well. This was type of card that either psyched you out because of the field sizes or made you comfortable from the obvious chalk that still looked playable against weaker foes.